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Fern Olivia — Founder Of Thyroid.Yoga™ / Ajai Alchemy And Her Remarkable Journey

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Tell us about your journey to holistic health?

My journey began when I was 16 years old – I was constantly struggling with my weight and felt extremely depressed. I felt so sluggish, especially when I came down with Mono.  Over the following decade, I battled against my body and the horrible discomfort of chronic congestion, puffiness, brain fog, constipation, food allergies, and severe stomach irritability.

I spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars traveling from doctor to doctor, feeling like a lost patient who was completely disconnected from her body, wanting so badly to just be given a magical solution to it all.  I was told I had hypothyroidism, meaning my thyroid was underactive, and that’s why I was having all the uncomfortable feelings in my body.  I was given every type of thyroid medication in the book to mask the symptoms I was experiencing – rather than getting down and dirty with why I was feeling so awfully rotten in the first place.  At one point I was on 125 mcg of synthroid and 5 mcg of cytomel and still felt like a zombie. The worst part -  I was told that I would always have these symptoms and would just have to “deal with them.”

After I graduated from college, I thought I was living the American Dream when I landed a swanky desk job at a prestigious investment bank in New York City. I knew it wasn’t my path, but I didn’t know that there was any alternative. I was staring at spreadsheets all day and feeling hopeless. I was making money but spending it all on my health because I was so sick. I felt miserable in my body, but I didn’t know how to heal.

I often experienced vertigo when staring at my computer and starting getting daily migraines that I took excedrin for regularly. I’d also pop a Zyrtec with my Synthroid before my cereal and soy milk each morning to clear my stuffy, runny nose. And even with all of that, I still felt awful. Finally, at the age of 22, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Hypothyoriditis, which is the autoimmune form of hypothyroidism. My own immune system was destroying my thyroid cells. This “attack and destroy” can cause wild symptom swings from hypothyroid to hyperthyroid, and back.

I’d bounce from doctor to doctor and was prescribed pills for my thyroid, but nothing was working. Doctors said “try this pill and you’ll feel a little bit better.” It was all a band-aid, nothing was actually curing the underlying issue.

I’d had enough. I thought to myself, I studied biomechanics and neuroscience. Why can’t I figure this out? Turns out, I could…but in an unexpected place.

Yoga found me in 2009. Coming to my yoga mat as I snuck out on lunch breaks, it was the first time I felt nurtured and alive in years. It was the missing piece to all the struggles I was feeling in my body. I began noticing patterns of how I ate and treated myself and how I felt on my yoga mat, and getting really excited about what this all meant. I began to take the first steps of being my own healer, instead of relying on test results and no clear direction. This was a whole new world to me, and as I began to feel better, I began to see that what I was putting in my body – and how I was treating it – was making a huge difference on how I felt.

Each time I returned to my yoga mat, I not only felt clear-headed, but also safe, comforted and loved — feelings I had been lacking in my life — and I realized that this practice allowed me to connect with myself in a way that I hadn’t been able to elsewhere.

A very particular teacher took me under her wing, and she was living the life I wanted to see for myself, too.

She was health and life coaching, helping people and living a life aligned with how she wanted to live. This captivated me and I wanted to embody this as well.

Now, fast forward to 6 years later and I’ve made it my career to empower women to tap into their own inner healer and live their most vibrant life, too.

I moved to LA last year, and it was the first time i felt home, feminine and alive in years. I was on the beach and my soul spoke to me -- “Come home. Everything you’ve ever wanted will be right here for you.”

So here I am. I finally feel good again, and I love my life.

Tell us about Thyroid Yoga and the speciality treatments you offer?

We are constantly told we are broken, or something is missing, or we need drugs.

We are constantly looking outside ourselves for answers.

When I began to look inside, I became more intuitive and began to finally notice huge shifts in my life. Yoga was the catalyst for me and as I have been experimenting with so many different healing modalities, I’ve learned how to finally feel good in my body again. I’ve worked with hundreds of clients over the past six years and have been shocked and how fast these practices really work - and how doctors often completely overlook these potent tools!

I have cross-pollinated ancient yogic wisdom and healing practices to create something refreshingly new, yet refined with rich substance and deep history. This is precisely why I created Thyroid.Yoga™ about 4 years ago, a method designed to empower men and women to say goodbye to survival mode and embody radiant health again.

In other words, in Thyroid.Yoga™, we discover how to unveil all the bullshit holding us back - and release it. It’s like nothing out there.

What makes my work unique is that I bring together the strongest possible offering for the physical, emotional and cultural health of my students and community.

I’ve been able to curate a program that works for everything, through combining the best of the best knowledge from the most renowned teachers, healers and experts. This is the game-changer - it has launched on MindBodyGreen and it has already helped thousands of women and men to understand and support their total health!! (LINK)

I’ve created the Thyroid.Yoga™ Inner Circle, a special membership opportunity for those looking to understand their symptoms and finally free themselves from the mercy of thyroid and other hormone imbalances. I’m thrilled to offer my expert advice along with the support of the healers and leaders in the holistic health space, along with exclusive content - meditations and yoga sequences from me and I’ll be providing my answers to the most challenging thyroid questions in a safe and supportive forum.

I’m also really excited to be offering a one-of-a-kind teacher training program - for healers, teachers, or anyone looking to understand their thyroid and how to finally liberate themselves to speak from their soul. It’s happening at Ra Ma in Venice this upcoming November 3-6 and will be available globally via livestream, too! You can learn all about it here.

What kind of results do you see from your clients?

I love my clients - they are amazing! One particular client didn’t have her period for 2 years, I was working with her for 2 months on yoga and breathwork and I had this intuitive hit - I was teaching a women’s retreat in Malibu and I recommended to her “Darling, come on this retreat, we’ll go into a lot of deep work on communication and self-doubt… I have a hit that you’ll get your cycle back while you’re with us.” And she did during the trip, by tapping into her femininity, she finally did something for herself - as a superwoman she was just so stressed that she was blocking it the whole time. When she got it, she cried. It was beautiful.

Another client couldn’t conceive, and had thyroid removed, and was just so stressed - about everything. I offered her an day intensive and we worked together for 6 hours - movement, meditation, breath work, mantra, using the embodiment of femininity. The work I do uses attentive and very artful movement of our bodies in a primal way using the practices of kundalini yoga and breathwork, we open up channels that haven’t been opened for so long. Kundalini yoga resets the glandular system and reorganizes the brain chemistry - when the brain chemistry is out of whack, the body can not process information properly and we are unable to function the way our bodies were designed to work. Through 6 hours of using the technologies of meditation, breath, movement and deep introspection, something shifted. My client conceived the next month and when called me to share the news, it was one of the happiest moments of my life.  

Describe a typical day (or week) of work for you.

Some days I’m meeting with business partners, entrepreneurs, other healers, and press around LA. Other days, I’m seeing clients. Or, I’m home mixing up natural beauty products for my new organic beauty company, Ajai. Sometimes I travel, teaching retreats in Montauk and Hawaii, speaking at festivals like Further Future and Wanderlust, or filming meditation and yoga content for MindBodyGreen. My life is dynamic - I’m a digital nomad yogi. It doesn’t feel like work because it’s what I’m meant to do, and I love it so.

Who do you admire in this space?

Elena Brower - Elena an amazing yoga teacher, mamma, healer and dear friend. She does it all, and she’s so classy, calm and poised. She manages so much and stays true to herself and her students. She’s a blessing in my life, and I am very grateful to have studied with her extensively in New York.

Dana James - Dana  is one of my most influential role models and friends. She embodies grace and femininity, and is a true powerhouse in the wellness world. She rocks at what she does, she’s driven and is like a big sister to me.

Taryn Toomey - Taryn is the badass of the fitness world. She’s created something called The Class, which is a spiritual somatic experience. There’s nothing like it - you’ve got to try it. I love that she just is fearlessly herself and has dedicated her life to empowering women to fearlessly be themselves, too.

Guru Jagat - Guru Jagat is the founder of Ra Ma Institute, a kundalini yoga studio in Venice and an epic global community. She’s uncensored - she really wants her students and the world to be aware and awakened to what’s really going on. I love that about her. She’s been the catalyst for me to step into my power here in LA and I admire everything she’s creating with Ra Ma around the world.

Which ancient traditions attract you most?

Kundalini Yoga & Ayurveda - These ancient healing practices use intuitive wisdom to tap into our own healer. We all have the ability to heal ourselves and these practices are catalysts for major healing potential.

You can understand how to get yourself back into balance by self-care, diet and lifestyle changes - it’s actually quite easy because these practices work quickly!

The practice of Kundalini Yoga is so powerful because it balances the glandular system, strengthens the nervous system and enables us to harness the energy of the mind and the emotions, so we can be in control of ourselves, rather than being controlled by our thoughts and feelings. Of all the technology and wisdom that Yogi Bhajan could have taught from his vast storehouse of mastery, he chose to teach Kundalini Yoga because it is so effective, comprehensive, and so "do-able."

Where is your favourite place to nourish yourself in LA?

Plant Food & Wine, hands down! It’s a hidden gem in LA, tucked at the north end of Abbot Kinney. I sit in the garden most afternoons and have my “office hours” there with clients and other appointments as I sip green juice and turmeric lattes. The food Matthew Kinney created is on point and the staff is so wonderful. It’s my sanctuary!

What do you do on a daily basis that you find keeps your life on track in a holistic way?

The “must” of my self-care routine is a daily yoga practice, or “sadhana.”

Yoga has been shown to decrease oxidative stress, which signals an imbalance in free radicals and is linked to disease. Inspired by the practices of my teachers, my studies in functional medicine, yoga and holistic health, and most importantly, my own healing journey, I have woven together what I found to be the most beneficial, most powerful poses and techniques to nourish and support your thyroid, which is precisely the secret behind Thyroid.Yoga™.

I've made my daily meditation practice non-negotiable, and as my teacher, Guru Jagat says, "How can you expect to have the relationship, the job, the body — whatever the 'thing' is — if you're not committed to your sadhana every single day? If you're doing it 'almost every day' then you're just going to get almost 'the thing.'" It's so true — when I start and end my day focused internally, on my own healing, I feel empowered, powerful, and laser sharp.

How do you remain authentic within the commercial world of today?

Simple. I live by the statement “YOU BE YOU.” I just be myself, I do what I love, and I surround myself with friends who live by the same rule. I notice when I haven’t done my true work, if I’m working for someone else and doing things that aren’t truly nourishing my soul, things are not fluid and it’s hard work. When I am not true to me, my physical body is stuck. When I am authentic, the success comes like that {snaps}, it’s a very natural attraction.

Bio:

Fern Olivia Langham, founder of Thyroid.Yoga™, is a LA-based instructor and wellness expert renowned for her artful approach to self-healing. Through her own journey recovering from Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism, Fern Olivia combines her extensive knowledge of yoga, meditation, breathwork, mantra, holistic health, and plant-based alchemy into a one-of-a-kind integrative approach. She has helped hundreds of men and women overcome their struggles with thyroid and hormone imbalances.

In addition to her Thyroid.Yoga™ practice, Fern Olivia leads meditation and yoga retreats and speaks on the topics of conscious communication, self-love, and healing at events around the world. Fern Olivia also combined her passion for plants with her love of organic beauty to birth Ajai Alchemy as a luxury apothecary.

Connect with Fern Olivia on instagram @fernolivia and Facebook for powerful resources and inspiration, and be the first to know about her upcoming Thyroid.Yoga™ teacher training program in LA and Australia, as well as her life-changing retreats.

Website: www.fernolivia.com

Instagram: @fernolivia

Facebook: instagram.com/fernolivia 

Email: love@thyroid.yoga